October 2015

Fund provides Helping Hand to patients in need


It was happening too often. A sick patient would come to the emergency department seeking care. After treatment, he or she would be sent home with a prescription. Days later, the patient would be back.

“What I saw at Swedish Covenant Hospital is that patients would be back a few days after their initial emergency department visit and be even sicker,” said Dr. Bruce McNulty, chairman of emergency medicine and president of Swedish Emergency Associates. “The patient would say that they went to the pharmacy to get their prescription filled and it was $200 so they couldn’t afford it.”

Dr. McNulty suggested a solution – to create a Helping Hands fund at Swedish Covenant Hospital to provide one-time assistance to patients in need. He saw this model work at other hospitals and recently replicated it in the emergency department at Swedish Covenant Hospital. The fund is paid for through the generosity of donors.

“It’s our way of doing the right thing,” Dr. McNulty said.

The medicines provided through this fund have included antibiotics, psychiatric drugs, maintenance medications, like blood pressure medication, and pain medication. Since the fund was created a year ago, 40 patients have received needed medications that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford. The average cost for the medications provided through the fund is $100.

Dr. McNulty said that only those most in need receive medications through this fund.

“Many of the patients who have received medications through the fund are homeless – they are the most destitute in our community,” he said.

The fund also provides an opportunity to educate patients on preventative medicine, like an inhaler for asthma, or the importance of completing a full course of medication, according to Kimberly Leslie, clinical director of the emergency department.

“We are able to tell a patient that this antibiotic is so important for your healing process, that we want to make sure you take it and are paying for the medication for you,” Kimberly said.

To learn more about the Helping Hands, or to support the fund, contact the Foundation at foundation@swedishcovenant.org or (773) 293-5121, or go to swedishcovenantfoundation.org/donate.

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Runners raise funds for violence prevention program


When she turned the final corner and saw the half marathon finish line, Mary Koleff-May, Magnet/Education Director at Swedish Covenant Hospital, doubted that she was going to make it. But, with the encouragement of her running partner, Kathy Donofrio, and the simple words “whatever you do, smile when you cross that finish line,” Mary kept going.

Mary and Kathy were two of the 50 Team SCH runners who completed the Magnificent Mile Half Marathon & 5K on Sunday, September 6. Team SCH, including nurses, physicians, administrative staff, donors and community members, raised more than $13,000 to support a new program at Swedish Covenant Hospital that was created to strengthen the hospital’s capacity to identify and respond to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.

It was the encouragement of Kathy Donofrio, Chief Nursing Officer at Swedish Covenant Hospital, and the cause that influenced Mary to train for and finish her first half marathon.

“There is a need to empower women in our community,” Mary said. “There is a lack of awareness among the populations we serve on issues of interpersonal violence. We, as a hospital, need to have a collective effort to support these victims.”

The program aims to create comprehensive screening and referral protocols and regular staff trainings; provide seamless referral and safe transportation to emergency shelters; create patient education materials; and formalize partnerships with culturally and linguistically diverse community organizations.

Funds raised through Team SCH will help to purchase care packages for victims of violence that seek care through our emergency department. When women come into our emergency department who are victims of domestic violence, human trafficking or sexual assault, it is often not safe for them to return home. Care packages will provide self-care items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, face wipes, comb, shower gel, hand sanitizer and lotion that a woman may need whether she is going to stay with friends, family or at a shelter. In some cases, the additional support of vouchers for food and transportation will make this difficult time just a little bit easier.

Cristin Hurley was the top fundraiser for Team SCH and raised more than $1,200 for the program. As a paralegal at Swedish Covenant Hospital for 11 years, the race was a meaningful way for Cristin to give back to her community.

“Many women have nowhere to turn when facing abuse, and I felt that this was a great initiative to give them a new chance to start over,” Cristin said. “I enjoy fundraising for people less fortunate, it makes finishing the race much more memorable.”

This cause is particularly important to Maggie Simmons, who also completed her first half marathon with Team SCH.

As a nurse in the emergency department, Maggie sees many women who come through the emergency department that will benefit from the program. It was the opportunity to raise funds for much needed resources, as well as to raise awareness of the program, that inspired her to run with Team SCH.

“The race gave me the opportunity to spread the word about this much needed program at Swedish Covenant Hospital,” Maggie said. “So many people weren’t aware of the services that we provide to victims of violence, and I was able to help to change that.”

In recognition Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a tree in the lobby of Galter Medical Pavilion at Swedish Covenant Hospital has been adorned with purple ribbons. Community partners for the violence prevention program joined Swedish Covenant Hospital staff to decorate the tree earlier this month. The tree will remain decorated for the month of October to build awareness of domestic violence in our community. To learn more about the violence prevention program at Swedish Covenant Hospital, click here.

Do you have a race coming up that you would like to dedicate to Swedish Covenant Hospital? To learn more about using your upcoming event as a way to benefit an area of your choosing at Swedish Covenant Hospital, visit the Team SCH web page or contact the Foundation at senglish@swedishcovenant.org or (773) 989-6255. More information will be available about the 2016 Team SCH fundraiser in the spring. Stay tuned!

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Lung cancer screening and diagnosis inspires gift


Connie Putney credits Swedish Covenant Hospital with saving her life.

As a long-time member of Galter LifeCenter, Connie learned of a new donor-funded lung cancer screening program at Swedish Covenant Hospital through the Galter LifeCenter’s eNewsletter. The screening is offered to high-risk individuals for the cost of a pack of cigarettes or the equivalent $10.

Connie smoked for more than 45 years and took this promotion as a sign that she should get screened.

She made the call to see if she qualified for the program and scheduled the scan for a time she would already be at the LifeCenter to swim laps.

Connie was expecting to hear back that everything was fine, but was shocked to find out that she had early stage lung cancer.

“I had zero symptoms of anything. I swim, I dance, I travel; there’s nothing I can’t do,” Connie said. “But, bingo, I had tumors in my lower left lobe and the scan picked them up.”

Following her surgery, Connie is doing extremely well. So well, in fact that when she was recently in London, she climbed to the top of Greenwich so she could stand with one foot in each hemisphere.

The screenings are offered at a low cost, thanks to a planned gift from grateful patients. Connie is so thankful for the test that she credits with saving her life that she has made a generous donation to support cancer services at Swedish Covenant Hospital. It is her way of paying it forward and helping others access the screening.

Now she feels strongly about and advocates for early testing.

“I am committed to getting the message out. I have to restrain myself from going up to people standing outside smoking and telling them ‘please get yourself tested’,” Connie said.

To learn more about the Grateful Patient Program at Swedish Covenant Hospital click here, or contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or Foundation@swedishcovenant.org.

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Q&A with new Foundation Board Member Ron Chadha


Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation recently welcomed a new member to the board of directors, Ron Chadha.

Mr. Chadha is the Senior Director of Corporate Strategy at Allstate Insurance Company. He also served as Director of Corporate Strategy and Business Development at Mead Johnson Nutrition and worked at the consultancy Marakon Associates where he focused on Fortune 500 company strategy engagements. Prior to business school, he held roles in the investment banking and private equity industries and was part of an early-stage start-up. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics from UCLA and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Read on to see what inspires Ron and how he hopes to make a difference at Swedish Covenant Hospital.

What inspired you to get involved with Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation?

It starts with the hospital. My wife is a physician at Swedish Covenant and through her I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the important role it plays in the community and the platform it is for driving change more broadly. The Foundation’s focus on supporting key causes such as ending domestic violence and creating institutions such as the Women’s Health Center support both the community and the hospital. The team has a real passion for it, which comes across immediately. The Foundation is helping to make a difference in people’s lives, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.

What areas of health care most interest you?

Consumers are becoming increasingly empowered through technology and information to control their experiences across all industries: from retail through health care. This “consumerization” is having an incredible impact on all parts of the health care ecosystem for the ultimate benefit of the patient. All health care participants are being forced to adapt quickly to provide offerings and experiences that more effectively meet rapidly changing patient needs and preferences. The challenges and opportunities being created are fascinating. I think the Foundation is uniquely positioned to help the hospital and community benefit from these trends.

What do you hope to contribute as a board member?

Foundation leadership has built a strong platform and network and there is no shortage of opportunities for the group to continue to add value. I hope to help to deliver on their vision through community involvement, working with local corporations with like-minded community focus areas and being part of the Foundation’s continuous strategic plan development.

Why is supporting a community hospital, like Swedish Covenant Hospital, important?

The hospital plays an important role on so many levels from providing direct health care services to driving and supporting local causes. A hospital the size of Swedish Covenant is unique in that it has the resources, talent and capabilities to provide top tier care while retaining close community ties. It is at the front lines of key issues facing the community on a daily basis and is continuously impacting people’s lives in positive ways.

What do you like to do for fun?

My wife and I have two children – a seven year-old daughter and a four year-old son. They’ve kept us very busy over the last few years. We love traveling and going to sporting events, and now that they are getting bigger we plan to do much more of both!

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Associates’ Board raises nearly $5,000 for cancer care


The Swedish Covenant Hospital Associates’ Board raised nearly $5,000 at its 8th Annual Beer Tasting Fundraiser held on Sept. 24, 2015 at Bar on Buena. Proceeds from the annual event will benefit cancer services at Swedish Covenant Hospital.

Thank you to all who attended the event. Special thanks to the Bar on Buena for their hard work in hosting and organizing this fundraiser and the 13 breweries who donated products for tastings.

Learn more about joining the Associates’ Board or view photos from the event.


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